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Cybersecurity Awareness: 7 Tips For The April Fool In All Of Us

Let’s be honest, nearly all of us have been victims of a friendly April Fool’s prank at some point. The day (and month!) is full of (mostly) harmless pranks and jokes by friends and family. But let’s not forget that getting targeted by hackers and cybercriminals is also very much a reality. Pranksters love to play jokes on businesses and unsuspecting individuals, but cybercriminals like to take advantage of this time to cause serious security incidents with unforeseen costs.

April Fools’ Day is not the only day these cybercriminals use to take advantage of people’s naivety and lack of awareness, the frequency of these cybercrimes has been growing for a while. With a reported 150% rise in ransomware attacks between April 2020 and July 2021, it is becoming increasingly essential for people, especially employees to learn more about how they can protect themselves as well as their organizations from hackers and different types of cyber criminals.

This April Fool’s Day, Thrive would like to raise awareness around cyber-attacks, share with you some common examples of the tactics used by cybercriminals, and discuss how you can identify scams and protect yourself, your businesses, your employees, and your customers.

Let’s get right into it. Here are some of the most famous internet and telephone scams that you must have heard of:

The CRA Scam:

This is a very common scam in Canada, especially during tax season. You might receive calls or emails that may seem to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You might be told that you owe taxes or that you are in trouble with the tax department and that you must make payments or give out your credit card or banking information. Sometimes they might even send you links to fake websites that might look exactly like the real CRA website. It is best to just hang up on the call or delete these emails. The real CRA will never call, email, or text you asking for this kind of information.

The Prize / Lottery Scams:

In these types of scams, you might get a phone call or email saying that you have won a prize, such as cash, a car, an iPhone or a vacation. The scammer will tell you that you need to make a payment to collect your prize, and they might ask for your credit card or banking information. You obviously won’t receive the prize that you were promised but now the scammer can make charges on your credit card, or worse drain your bank account. Once you lose the money, you probably will not get it back.

The Nigerian Prince / Emergency / “Grandparent” Scams:

In these types of scams, the scammers pretend to be close friends or relatives in trouble. A very common one is when the scammer pretends to be a long-lost relative who is a Nigerian prince who needs your help to save his life or to move large sums of money internationally. This scam is so popular and successful at reeling in victims that it’s earned the name, ‘cat fishing.’ They might ask you to send money because of an accident, an inj